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For week ended November 28, 1999 Posted 24 Feb 2001

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A temple to call their own

Summarized by Kent Larsen

A temple to call their own
Edmonton Alberta Canada Sun 28Nov99 D1
By David Quigley: Edmonton Sun

EDMONTON, ALBERTA -- The public open house of the new Edmonton Temple will start next month, and local members are excited to show their neighbors the importance of a Temple. "Temples are a different type of building,'' says local leader Blair Bennett. "Temples are referred to as the House of the Lord, the most sacred building we as church members have.''

The new 945-square meter (9,500 square foot) temple relieves members in Edmonton of a 5 1/2 hour drive south to Cardston, where the closest temple is, until now. "For the majority, they'll make the sacrifices to come to a temple,'' says Bennett. It serves a district including 12,500 members in the Edmonton area, as well as another 3,500 members in Red Deer and Grand Prairie.

The LDS Church entered Edmonton with the family of Robert and Fannie Gordon, who came to the city from Utah in 1914. Several other Mormon families moved into or out of the are over the next two decades. In 1933 the first Church meetings where held in Edmonton in the home of Alfred and Mable Strate. A meetinghouse was dedicated in 1951.

Like all LDS Temples, the estimated $5 million cost of the Edmonton temple is paid for. "All of our buildings are paid for before we start construction,'' says Bennett, who is a dentist in Edmonton. Leo Udy of Idaho served as project manager, "I'm an engineer by profession, a manager of people by training and experience and a cowboy at heart,'' says Udy, who managed the project as a missionary for the Church.

Local officials expect thousands of Edmontonians for the open house, "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,'' says Bennett. "It can't help but enhance the image of our church.''

The building has some aspects that are unique to it, according to project architect Robert Bennett, who is no relation to local leader Blair Bennett. "We had to work within a compact area,'' he says referring to the former parking lot beside an existing chapel. "I believe that we've been successful in landscaping it so that it will have the proper atmosphere.''

The building's exterior walls are made of laminated veneer lumber with stone shrouding, "It's a very sturdy technology in terms of structural capacity and also very true in terms of the straightness of the product,'' according to Bennett. "That's important when we're using a material such as stone, which tends to be a fairly precise cladding material.'' The shrouding includes two types of granite from separate Quebec quarries and the building includes marble tiles from Italy.

The Temple is also much more sound that most buildings in Edmonton, "It was requirement of the client that we design this building structurally for two earthquake-zone categories above the category which we normally design in Edmonton. Our client required us to design for category two - Edmonton is category zero.'' The buiding's pilings are set more than 12 meters (40 feet) below ground. "It's very well-founded and very sound structurally,'' says Bennett of the temple, the first he's ever worked on.

The building also features a number of complex finishing details and mechanical systems. "The standard of workmanship that the client expects is very high, relative to what we normally encounter on commercial projects,'' says Bennett, of Bennett Architect Inc. "It's the first building that our firm has ever done in granite. For an architect it's been an interesting building to work on.''

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information